My Photographic Journey

Paul Moran

My Photographic Journey

How did your interest in photography start? 

My journey started badly. I was given a Zenith EM by my parents for my 18th birthday and things did not go well. I didn’t know what I was doing, the camera weighed more than I did, and it had a light leak. I soon got a refund on it and bought a Pentax ME Super and achieved superb results from the first roll of film. I was hooked! I bought a couple of extra lenses, read all the magazines and books, and the rest, as they say, is history. That was 40 years ago, and I still have that same sense of excitement whenever I go out with my camera.

What are your first photography memories?

My dad had a 6X6 roll film twin lens reflex and he shot about 1 film per year, mostly of family and friends (I’m sure the films had Christmas trees at each end!). I was never allowed to borrow the camera, and used to get frustrated by his constant changing of settings and other mysterious controls as the family all sat waiting with fixed smiles until he finally released the shutter. I inherited his camera when he passed away a few years ago, along with his albums and slides. They are such important memories and are among my most treasured possessions.


What type of photographs did you start taking initially and how has that changed over the years?

My initial interest was landscapes, and as my business career took off I travelled more and more around the UK and abroad. This gave me many opportunities to practise taking pictures. I moved to Brussels in 1990, switched to Nikon, and travel photography became my focus. I travelled to more than 50 countries in the 5 years I was there and was lucky enough to also have my own darkroom. I then moved to China for 4 years, Germany for 3 years, and the USA for 5 years. All the while taking slides, locally and on my travels.


Name three pieces of photographic equipment that you would not want to be without and why

I recently switched from a Nikon DSLR to mirrorless and am loving the reduction in weight and improvement in results. I can’t believe the sharpness of my images! My 3 chosen pieces of equipment therefore are my Z8 camera, my 135mm Plena, and my 85mm f1.2. These days I concentrate on portraits in both colour and black and white, and spend most of my shooting time in the studio. The Nikon Z lenses are astonishing and are perfect for studio and portrait work. I truly believe they have improved the quality of my pictures.


Where do you get your inspiration from for new ideas and new photographic work? 

I still read photo magazines and books, visit exhibitions, and talk about photography with fellow photographers and, to be honest, anyone who will listen. A lot of my inspiration comes from the club – the member presentations, speakers and competitions. I still travel a great deal with my work and meeting new people and cultures remains very rewarding. In 2022 I graduated from Falmouth University with an MA in Photography. Completing that course was tough, but it raised my standard of pictures, my understanding of photography, and how to be more disciplined in my approach.


When did you join Wokingham Photography Club and what do you enjoy most about it?

I joined in 2018 and was made to feel very welcome. My expectations were low, having been a member at other camera clubs where new members were largely left to fend for themselves – something that’s very hard to do in a large group of people who have known each other for years. At Wokingham it was so different; members  talked to me, asked me about my interests, and made me glad to be a member right from the start. I owe so many people a debt of thanks for those first meetings. Wokingham is special, and is just as friendly today as it was then.